A GOLDEN GOLF BALL WAS THE PRIZE IN 1924
when national champion Edith Cummings graced the cover of TIME. We've been covering golf as a sport, as a business and as a popular pastime for more than eighty years. Some highlights:
No one is exactly sure when or where golf was invented, and only God knows why. The Romans, the Dutch, the Chinese and a few others over the years have been willing to take partial responsibility, reasoning that any grassy place with shepherds and crooks might have done it. After all, what is more inevitable than a man lifting a club to vent some hideous rage on the most innocent object in his path?
From The Misty Birthplace of Golf
By Tom Callahan
Aug. 29, 1988
Every golfer knows that when he gets to heaven he will boom his way around St. Peter's Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 18 magnificently perfect strokes. While he's waiting, though, he'll happily settle for a little bit of heaven on earth: a hole in one.
From Heaven in the Cup
Feb. 19, 1965
Golfing women of the U. S. consulted their professionals about form; their tailors about costume; their husbands or parents about travelling expenses ; their time tables about trains for Providence, R. L, where the women's national championship will open Sept. 1.
From Providence Ho!
Aug. 25, 1924
In the winter months, when the majority of the 2,000,000 golfers in the U. S. turn their hands to bridge and the radio, the majority of the jobless professionals go south. Some are hired to accompany rich club members to their winter playgrounds. Some find comfortable berths at flourishing hotels. But a goodly portion embark on one of the most extraordinary tours in the realm of sport.
From Winter Troupe
Jan. 17, 1938
Last week Robert Tyre Jones Jr., possessor thus far this year of three of golf's four highest titles—British Open, British Amateur, U. S. Open—a record never before held by any man—took his golfing machine out on the No. 2 course at his home East Lake Country Club near Atlanta, Ga.
Sep. 22, 1930
Little Ben Hogan is the fiercest competitor in the game. With his relentless training schedule and assembly-line precision, Ben is all business, considers a social round of golf the most boring thing in the world.
From Little Ice Water
Jan. 10, 1949
The big wheel on the women's circuit and the one who has made women's golf pay off: Mrs. George Zaharias, better known as Mildred Didrikson, or just plain 'Babe.' As she strode to the first tee, Babe obligingly clowned for photographers and the gallery, but she was in no joking mood.
From Big Business Babe
Jun. 11, 1951
Like Babe Ruth (to whom his fans often compare him) and the little girl with the curl, Snead is sensationally good when he is good—and when he is bad he is horrid. He is never dull. He plays a gamboling, gambling game that hypnotizes the spectators.
From "Come On, Little Ball!"
Jun. 21, 1954
Surveying the Augusta National Golf Club for the first time, a Sunday golfer might be moved to wonder what all the shouting was about. For the site of the annual Masters tournament (and favorite course of President Eisenhower) is a deceptively simple layout, and par seems to invite a licking. But the masters of golf know better.
From Master of the Masters
Apr. 16, 1956
Win or lose, Palmer, with his daring, slashing attack, is fun to watch.... Like baseball buffs, golf fans dote on the long-ball hitter; they pack six deep behind the tee to gasp in admiration as Powerman Palmer unwinds to send a 280-yd. drive down the fairway.
From For Love & Money
May. 2, 1960
Nicklaus' swing is pure thunder. His wide, stubby-fingered hands choke the club in an old-fashioned interlocking grip, and when he swings he looks as if he might shoot in the 90s: his arms move back stiffly, his head sometimes bobs, his right knee brutally forces his left side out of the way on the downswing, and his right elbow flies away from his body.
From The Prodigious Prodigy
Jun. 29, 1962
When Trevino first came out of nowhere to win his first U.S. Open in 1968, many dismissed him as a one-shot upstart.... Yet in the seasons since, swaggering down the fairways, wearing gaudy red socks and a grin as wide as the Rio Grande, Trevino has captured the fancy of the fans—and the purses of the Professional Golfers' Association.
From Lee Trevino: Cantinflas of the Country Clubs
Jul. 19, 1971
There seems to have been golf before Dwight Eisenhower, Bobby Jones, Bob Hope and Arnold Palmer, though in terms of general popularity, this was the sport's first foursome, and Palmer its original athlete.
From Two Aces and a King
By Tom Callahan
Sep. 15, 1986
Golf seems destined to be the game for the 1990s. Business, on and off the links, is booming. Some 23 million golfers last year teed off at 13,626 courses in the U.S. -- up 30% from 1985.
From On The Seventh Day He Played
By Christine Gorman
May. 8, 1989
The army met the troops at high noon last Thursday. As Arnold Palmer walked toward the 10th tee in the first round of the Bay Hill Invitational, his still impressive gallery blended in with the huge horde following Tiger Woods, who was about to tee off on the first hole.
From The Kings of Swing
By Steve Wulf
Mar. 31, 1997
Any accounting of the traits and experiences that have shaped Tiger Woods must start with his physical gifts, his exceptional parents and his early start in golf under a series of devoted coaches.
From The Game Of Risk
By Dan Goodgame
Aug. 14, 2000
For all its apparent popularity, golf is not attracting new players, and those who do play are not playing as much. The wave of aging baby boomers the industry counted on to hit the links never materialized.
From Getting Clubbed
By Frank Gibney Jr.
Jul. 30, 2001
When people describe Annika Sorenstam, they say she's consistent, efficient, mechanical, driven. Makes you wonder: Are they talking about the world's No. 1 female golfer or a Volvo?
From Annika's Driving Ambition
By Jeff Chu
May. 26, 2003